Right now, not many people know the details of exactly which programs, of those initially supported by House Democrats, have been cut from the stimulus package in negotiations with the Senate. But Politico is reporting that in addition to school construction funds, neighborhood preservation funds have been "slashed."
The program originally included in the House version was quite innovative: It provided $4.1 billion to be distributed by HUD for the purpose of buying and redeveloping foreclosed properties, thus preventing neighborhood blight. But instead of funneling the money through state and city governments, HUD would have created a bidding process through which local and national non-profits could have competed with municipalities for the dollars. One of Obama's campaign platforms was to better integrate the entrepreneurial non-profit sector into the workings of government, and this program could have provided an important model.
Predictably, part of the Republican opposition to the plan was that ACORN — yeah, remember them? — would have been eligible to apply for the funds.
I'll follow up when I learn more details about what happened to the neighborhood preservation programs in the final version of the bill.
–cross-posted at TAPPED
Update: Mike Lillis reports that the neighborhood development program has been preserved in the stimulus package, although it has been cut in half to $2 billion.